Airlines Executive Receives a Resume Makeover

Formatting clean-ups make an operations expert’s resume as incredible as his accomplishments.

Before he found Ladders, Sam’s resume was grounded in an illegible fog and a lack of personality or focus. Here are some of the suggestions I made when upgrading Sam’s resume:

Keep your options open and your resume focused.
When I asked about a target, he said he wanted to keep his career options open. Sam felt that because of the economy he should look outside of his industry, as well as inside it, for a position that could use his wide range of ‘transferable skills.’

Clients are under the misconception that the broader they appear on their resume, the more interested all kinds of employers will be in them. The reality is that your resume needs to be focused to get attention. You need to be offering exactly what an employer is looking for.

Do what you love.
Eventually during our discussion, Sam revealed he’d been interested in airlines and flying for as long as he could remember, even as a small child. He knew lots of history and fine details about airlines all over the world, and was willing to relocate anywhere on the planet to stay in the industry. Working for airlines was the only career path he’d ever wanted.

As a long-time resume writer, I know that when someone has had an all-their-life interest in something and they don’t really want to move away from it yet – especially if that industry still has plenty of jobs, and even more if the client has great experience in that field – the best thing for the client is to stay with that which they love. I pointed this out to Sam, and he seemed somewhat relieved at it being okay to stay focused on what he loved. With that information, we drafted Sam’s new resume to clearly position him as the airlines operations expert that he is.

Avoid putting your title in a ‘header.’
Sam’s name was fading off into the sunset on his old resume. He had created the header of his resume with Microsoft Word’s ‘Headers & Footers’ feature which embedded the information into a separate part of the document so that the same information would print at the top of each page.

An embedded header on subsequent pages is a good idea, but you want to stand out loud and clear on the first page. His format only showed up in a soft, diminished grey viewed online. Also, subsequent page headers don’t need to contain all of the same information as the first page header. Your name, phone and email contact information is sufficient.

Make a good impression with a strong opening.
Many undervalue the importance of the ‘title’ on your resume. Sam’s old resume lacked a proper opening/offering/title statement, which basically challenged the (extremely busy) employer to figure out what he’s looking at. We made his new resume user-friendly from the top down so an employer can quickly see what he was offering and determine his potential value to her company.

Showcase your wins, not your duties.
Keep in mind that a good resume is not a life-long, detailed, career biography. I distilled and displayed the critical parts of Sam’s employment history in a highlights section, and then fortified it with bulleted accomplishments.

One common mistake that turns powerful resume information into mush is too many bullets. The eye is drawn to bullets in a document, making them a very powerful visual tool. I bulleted the accomplishments in Sam’s resume, separating them from his everyday tasks so they stood out. It’s not important to have a lot of everyday task details in a resume, especially if you have great accomplishments, which Sam does.

Those are the keys to a good resume. A nicely written, well laid-out resume that reflects what you have to offer – and respects the employer’s time and interests – will go a long way toward making a spectacular first impression. Employers appreciate that you took the time to ensure you were giving them the best possible document. Sam deserved a powerful resume that could land him the interviews he wants. You deserve the same!